Espanola council unanimously voted to disband the Espanola Police Service and switch to Ontario Provincial Police.

Espanola Mayor Ron Piche was not in attendance, but no reason was given for his absence.

Councillor Ron Duplessis says the projected savings of $5 million have been verified by KPMG, the fourth largest accounting firm in the world.

He adds the issue will divide families, organizations, workplace relationships, and it is going to displace some people in the community, but the decision has to be based on what is good for all the community.

The date for the transition has not been set.

The Town of Espanola and the OPP have to sign the contract, then, with the Espanola Police Service Board, apply to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission for approval. The commission ensures an agreement is in place between the Espanola Police Service Board and Espanola Police Service employees in respect to severances or arbitration. The average transition period is approximately six months.

Renovations to both the OPP detachment on Highway 17 and the Espanola Police Service building in downtown Espanola are also part of the deal at an estimated $450,000.

The seven dispatchers with the municipal service, four full-time and three part-time, will all lose their positions. Dispatching would be handled out of the North Bay Communication Centre through the 911 access number. However, the Town will also have to look at contracting out for fire dispatch, and other arrangements will also have to be made for hydro or gas emergencies, which were handled by the dispatchers in the past.

To review the complete proposal for policing, go to: https://www.espanola.ca/files/Police/Police_Options_April_19_slides.pdf